i hate computer companies
taking a break from writing -in a totally incompetent fashion- a chinese essay attempting to criticise some phenomenon in an ironic fashion (??) to complain about my conversation with the Sony technical support peeps in Maimi, Florida this morning. (oh, let me take the time to say how sorry i am that they have been slammed by hurricane after hurricane, though it seems that back home in Asia we are experiencing the same phenomenon -we call them typhoons, of course, but they're just as bad, esp when you are an island nation like Japan.)
so what happened is my bro's computer has several issues with its keyboard, including a Tab key that's broken off so that every time he has to use 'tab' he gives himself a neat little electric shock, as well as a totally not-sensitive touchpad, and a dysfunctional CD drive. so he, happily international-warranty-ed, calls the aussie call centre -he's still Down Under- and requests some repairs. only to find out that he is supposed -i think- to call the american 'clearing house' to get his warranty 'activated'. (i am starting to hate the word 'activated'.) so, not illogically, he sends me an email asking me to call on his behalf, since i am IN the US and therefore am not likely to incur a humongous phonebill. obligingly, i called this morning when i woke up.
first, a slightly surreal moment after 'This call may be recorded for quality control purposes' announcement: i get put though AND my phone call gets picked up (wow, when's the last time you weren't put on hold) but then -i can hear conversation going on in the background, as if someone had picked up the phone then put it down on the desktop- and finally a click, and a man's voice speaking as if nothing had happened. so i relate my problem -or rather my brother's problem- to him, and he can't find the computer in his database. finally, exasperated, i tell him the computer was purchased in Singapore but currently resides in Sydney, and he was like 'oh, that's why it's not in my database.'
well, what the fuck. i mean, why should i even BOTHER with an 'international' anything with these damn computer companies anyway? the same thing with Dell: 'international warranty' means 'wait three weeks while we attempt to call all our offices at irregular intervals until we locate the one record on one computer in the entire world that has your details on it' rather than 'peace of mind when your computer screws up on the road (which, as we all know, it invariably will, because we produce merchandise that does that quite regularly)'. not that i'm blaming either the guy i talked to this morning (ok, i do blame him slightly, because when i expressed my displeasure to him, he replied 'well i can't answer your question, you'll have to speak to someone higher up the food chain than i am' rather than 'well, ma'am, i can't tell you why we are so fucked up, but i will pass on your comments to my supervisor and let him deal with it', which means the same thing, but would at least have made me feel a little more like he is being proactive.) or the guy who works the Dell counter on campus, because both of them were polite and clearly tried to help (the Dell guy by boosting my computer to the head of the line once the warranty cleared, and the Sony guy by trying to find me another number to call -though he failed) .
what transpired is Sony requires you to fax them a copy of your sales slip if you need your computer serviced, because -get this- they DON'T HAVE A RECORD OF WHEN YOU PURCHASED YOUR COMPUTER anywhere on their system, DESPITE the fact that they have a warranty system that is BASED ON THE DATE OF PURCHASE. -rolls eyes- if you can think of another way to make the warranty system even more inefficient and bothersome for your consumer, i'd like to see it. actually, on second thought, i wouldn't. it would probably give me a heart attack, and/or make me spit blood.
all i want -this is not too much to ask, is it? from computing companies that have the computing brainpower of several firstworld nations rolled into one- is an international warranty system that is really international. all it requires is for various national trouble-shooting centres to talk to one another; for warranties to be centrally sorted and the information internationally distributed. so it requires a fundamental change in your customer-service priorities. let me tell you, it would give you an edge on your competitors. i, for one, would be fanatically loyal to a company that really lives to serve my computing needs, not just from the moment i write them an astronomical (metaphorical) cheque for the purchase of a spanking new top-of-the-line machine, but also when it breaks and i need it fixed, despite the fact that i have purchased it in Singapore, live in America, and am speaking to a customer-service operator in India.
instead, i am faced with a bunch of companies that clearly stay competitive by colluding to provide equally awesomely bad post-purchase service to all their (potential) customers. yet another reason to make The Switch to Apple: even if their customer service is no better, at least their machines break less often.